frets & refrains counselors
Spend a week with like-minded folk, singing, strumming, writing, reflecting, and philosophizing on the possibilities of music. Added to this sympathetic environment, we have some of the finest musicians available to share their experience and insight, and a fantastic body of attendees, who never cease to amaze with their enthusiasm, breadth of knowledge, and development.
Richard Thompson is a critically acclaimed guitarist, singer, and songwriter, with a unique style and vision.
Richard grew up in London, the son of a music-loving policeman father and a Vera Lynn sound-alike mother. His early musical taste was shaped by Django, Jimmy Shand, and Jerry Lee on the family gramophone. His early school band featured Hugh Cornwell (of the Stranglers), before he co-founded Fairport Convention as a teenager. He then had a ten year collaboration with his ex-wife Linda Thompson before a highly successful solo career that has resulted in more than 40 records, numerous film and television scores, and over 400 songs. Selections from his critically acclaimed catalogue have been recorded by Elvis Costello, Robert Plant, Los Lobos, REM, Bonnie Raitt, Alison Krauss, and countless others, earning him both the British Ivor Novello Award for Songwriting as well as Lifetime Achievement Awards for Songwriting at the Americana Awards in both Nashville and London as well as the BBC.
As a guitar player, Thompson is a musician’s musician. Wildly innovative on both electric or acoustic guitars, his distinctive style incorporates a wide range of influences, from traditional British and Celtic styles to jazz, rockabilly, and more. He has been recognized with the Orville H Gibson Best Acoustic Guitarist Award, the MOJO Les Paul Award, plus Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 20 Guitarists of All Time list. He was honoured by the Queen of England with the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to music, and by the University of Aberdeen with an Honorary Doctorate.
On the Americanarama Tour, Bob Dylan himself played Thompson’s song ‘1952 Vincent Black Lightning.’ His most recent CD, ‘Still’, produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, reached #6 on the UK charts….just ahead of Taylor Swift! Volume 2 of ‘Acoustic Classics,’ along with a third installment in the series, ‘Acoustic Rarities,’ is available now.
(aka camp mom)
Nancy Covey is used to helping musicians away from home! Aside from being Camp Mom she’s actual mom to Jack Thompson, stepmom to Teddy and stepgranny to Zak. Prior to camp, she works all year organizing Frets & Refrains. During camp Nancy will be your welcoming emcee and is on hand from early morning yoga to late night campfires to help you enjoy your wonderful week in the mountains!
Nancy was Concert Director at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica when she booked Richard Thompson’s first USA solo tour back in 1981. These seminal gigs brought RT to the greater attention of American audiences and led to their decades long personal partnership. For over 30 years she connected her then husband to artists, agents and music heavyweights, including her own manager and subsequently personal friend, Hale Milgrim, president of Capitol Records, who promoted RT’s most commercially successful album, “Rumor and Sigh”. She also introduced Richard Thompson to his current team, Vector Management. Nancy helped produce many special RT projects including Meltdown, Cabaret of Souls and Frets and Refrains.
During Nancy’s stint at McCabes she met and worked with most major folk, jazz, celtic, blues and Americana musicians, including many F&R teachers. As well as Richard Thompson, she is largely credited with bringing John Hiatt and Vince Gill to bigger audiences and making her formerly folkie venue into a West Coast haven for acoustic music . “Nancy Covey was to her 150 seat domain what Bill Graham was to the Fillmore.” -LA Weekly
In addition to producing major concerts and music festivals, Nancy has run her own company, Festival Tours International, since 1982. She was one of the originators of music focused tours. Her trips combine indigenous music, people and cultures giving tour members an “insiders “ experience due to her vast musical connections. As well as specialized tours to Africa, Great Britain and Europe, Nancy has been a pioneering expert in People to People music tours to Cuba. Her upcoming Louisiana Music Tour (April 24-May 2, 2019 ) will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival plus a midweek Cajun Country tour where trip members are invited into the homes of Louisiana’s top musicians. Future tours include Celtic Brittany, Music Safari & Culture of South Africa, and a Wine & Music Tour to Spain.
Nancy’s tours are extremely “interesting and culturally attuned”…..Richard Thompson
Teddy Thompson is an acclaimed singer-songwriter with a career that has consistently garnered critical praise. NPR proclaims that he’s “the musical equivalent of an arrow to the heart,” while The New York Times calls his work “beautifully finessed.” Teddy released his first, self- titled album in 2000.
In 2002, Thompson played a key role in drawing his mother out of a 17-year musical retirement to record her landmark disc Fashionably Late, which he played on and co-produced. Thompson also toured as part of Rosanne Cash’s band before signing with Verve. Soon after, Thompson released his much lauded 2006 sophomore album Separate Ways, which demonstrated how much his songwriting, performing and record-making skills had evolved since his debut. It was followed in 2007 by Up Front & Down Low, a collection of personally charged readings of classic American country songs that demonstrated Thompson's increased assurance as a performer and interpreter. In 2008, Thompson released the upbeat and highly acclaimed, A Piece of What You Need, which was declared “one of this year’s best” by The Guardian and debuted at #9 in the UK’s pop charts. A fifth studio effort, Bella, was released February 2011 to much acclaim and led to touring the world with Elton John among other things.
In 2014 Thompson gathered his musical clan to release Family, one of the folk records of the year which garnered a multi-page, in depth piece from The New York Times magazine. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/09/magazine/teddy-thompsons-folk-rock-family-reunion.html
In 2016 Teddy released Little Windows, a record of original duets with singer Kelly Jones. The album was recorded live to tape and features an all-star band of backing musicians. Teddy also produced Dori Freeman’s debut album which was hailed by The New York Times as one of the year’s best https://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/07/arts/music/new-albums-from-infamous-stringdusters-trixie-whitley-and-others.html?_r=0
2017 saw the release of the long-awaited Shelby Lynn & Allsion Moorer duets record, Not Dark Yet, produced by Thompson.
Teddy is currently finishing up his new record and taking on more production work. If you are interested in having Teddy produce an album for you, talk to him while you are here at Frets & Refrains!
Martin Simpson – A Master of His Art
Nominated ‘Musician of the Year’ – BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2018
The remarkable intimate solo performances Martin gives go from strength to strength - every gig is a masterclass. He travels the length and breadth of the UK and beyond, giving rapt audiences passion, sorrow, love, beauty, tragedy and majesty through his playing.
“What’s it like being the best guitar player in the world…?” Martin’s modesty and grace prevented him from answering this BBC Radio 4 interviewer’s question recently, but the facts speak for themselves.
40 years after he recorded his first album, Golden Vanity, in 1976, Martin is known as a guitarist of formidable talent. Equally at home playing English traditional folk, American folk and blues and his own compositions, he is consistently named as one of the very finest fingerstyle guitar players in the world.
He is listed in Gibson Guitars’ Top 30 Acoustic Guitarists of all time, and Acoustic Guitar readers voted him number 12 guitarist in the world in 2005.
Universally acclaimed as one of the finest ever acoustic and slide guitar players, and a fine banjo-picker to boot, his solo shows bear witness to an artist at the very top of his game. Whether interpreting material from tradition or singing his own potent self-penned songs, Simpson is a remarkable storyteller: captivating and profoundly moving. His own songwriting produced the poignant ‘Never Any Good’, from Prodigal Son, 2007’s Folk Album of the Year.
Martin continues to collaborate with a dazzling array of people from across the musical spectrum: Jackson Browne, Martin Taylor, June Tabor, Richard Hawley, Bonnie Raitt, Danny Thompson, David Hidalgo, Danú, Richard Thompson and Dom Flemons are among the great musicians he has worked with.
In recent years, he has been a lynchpin in the award-winning Full English, The Elizabethan Sessions and, in 2015, recorded Murmurs, an exciting new album with Andy Cutting and Nancy Kerr. Martin’s latest solo album entitled Trails and Tribulations was released in September 2017 on Topic Records. Album guests include Andy Cutting, Kathryn Tickell, Nancy Kerr and John Smith.
He has had the most nominations of any performer in the 18 years of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, an astonishing 32 times, 13 of those as Musician of the Year, winning that particular accolade twice.
A virtuoso player without question, but above all Martin Simpson conveys his diverse treasure trove of material from the heart, performing with rare subtlety, intensity and honesty. A true master of his art.
Happy Traum’s decades-long involvement in traditional and contemporary folk music has brought him recognition as a performer, writer, editor, teacher, recording artist and first-rate fingerstyle guitarist. He was a student of blues guitar legend Brownie McGhee, who was a major influence on his guitar style. An active participant in the legendary Greenwich Village folk scene, Happy made his recording debut in 1963 with Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger, Gil Turner and others, and later recorded three duets with Dylan on his Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 album. He has since played in concerts, clubs and festivals throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and Japan, both solo and with his late brother, Artie Traum. He has released numerous CDs and has performed and/or recorded with Dylan, Levon Helm, John Sebastian, Larry Campbell, Chris Smither, Maria Muldaur, Eric Andersen, Rory Block, Allen Ginsberg and many other major figures in the folk music world.
As one of America’s best-known guitar instructors, Happy has taught at major guitar camps, clinics and workshops throughout the country. He is the author of more than a dozen best-selling guitar instruction books and has written numerous articles for leading music publications. As the co-owner (with Jane Traum) of Homespun Tapes, Happy has produced more than 500 music lessons on DVDs, books and CDs with some of the world’s top artists.
As a grammy-winning musician he has appeared on more than 300 albums. A restless collaborator who constantly seeks the most diverse and personally challenging contexts for his music, Henry not only produces and contributes to a staggering number of recorded projects, he performs frequently throughout the USA, Canada, Europe and Japan. Evidence of his exceptional musical breadth and versatility can be found in a brief list of a few the extraordinary artists with whom he has recorded and performed: Herbie Hancock, Richard Thompson, David Lindley, Bob Weir, Terry Riley, Wadada Leo Smith, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Sergei Kuriokhin, Sonny Sharrock, John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Yuji Takahashi, Jaojoby, Dama Mahaleo, Merl Saunders, Jerry Garcia, Cecil Taylor, Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Bill Laswell, Raymond Kane, Debashish Bhattacharaya, Bill Laswell, John Zorn, and Nels Cline. Henry and Richard Thompson are long-time musical pals who have made several albums together. He also works in film production as a cameraman, director, producer, and soundtrack composer. He has collaborated on 4 films with Werner Herzong and was nominated for an academy award for ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD. He is also a research diver in the US Antarctic Program, with 13 deployments to the ice.
Sloan Wainwright is a singer and a songwriter of rare power and subtlety serving up doses of the real and the mysterious in a soaring, soulful contralto. Singing with the extended McGarrigle-Wainwright family, Sloan has rocked the house from Carnegie Hall to London’s Royal Albert Hall,
and has released seven memorable records since her self-titled debut in 1994. She brings the same energy to her work as a solo artist, melding the best of pop, folk, jazz, and blues to create a unique, soulful hybrid. Sloan has been playing clubs, concerts, and festivals coast to coast for two decades, triggering tears, hoots and hollers with deeply personal lyrics that connect life’s mysterious dots.
A born storyteller and poet, Sloan started writing songs when she was 10. “Sitting at the piano and making up songs was my playground – a very safe place, magical and mystical. I surprised myself with what was in my head and how it all fit together.”
For the last 22 years, she has been sharing that process with students, spreading the gospel of personal expression and lyrical reinvention. Sloan’s open-hearted approach to singing, songwriting and letting loose has made her a treasured presence at a host of prestigious workshops, including The Swannanoa Gathering, Summersongs, Summer Acoustic Music Week, Winter Acoustic Weekend, Cape Cod Songwriters Retreat, Moab Folk Camp, and last year’s Frets and Refrains Guitar & Songwriting Camp. She is thrilled to be returning to Frets and Refrains again this summer, to share her love of song and story.
Marissa Nadler is a critically acclaimed singer-songwriter who has released 8 studio albums, with several more unofficial albums, EPs and covers records since her first CD, Ballads of Living and Dying, in 2003. She is also a member of the band Lost Horizons with Simon Raymonde of the Cocteau Twins
Raised in Massachusetts, Nadler is a self-taught musician, exploring American Primitive fingerpicking techniques, open tunings, and inventive and exploratory approaches to composition and storytelling.
Marissa studied painting at Rhode Island School of Design, where she obtained a bachelor's degree in Illustration and a master's degree in Art Education. This background in the fine arts has infused her songwriting with vivid details and a painterly approach to the art of song.
Rolling Stone listed the single from her recently released CD, For My Crimes, as one of the best Americana songs in the country.
Richard Thompson chose Marissa Nadler’s For My Crimes as one of his Top 13 Favorite New Records in 2018. “My son, Jack , introduced me to Marissa Nadler. Her music is really strange, lovely stuff. I find it very mesmerizing and very dreamy. Im also never quite sure what she’s talking about- there’s lots of ambiguity in her lyrics, which I like. Songs and stories don’t always have to be straight.” Quietus
“July (her 2014 CD) is moon music, quiet music, slurp-merlot-in-the-fetal-position music, a slow-burning tapestry of goth-folk torch songs and woozy-pop incantations about love and loss and memory, whispered by the same spirits as Julee Cruise's airy Twin Peaks vocals.” Spin Magazine
From folk and folk-rock to the improvisional jazz scene in London, to Welsh rock and reggae, to modern dance sound tracks, to alt pop and world music, London born Simon Tassano has been involved with the making, recording, mixing and production of music for many years.
He has been working with Richard Thompson for 30 plus years, both live and in the studio. His expertise in mixing and preparing live recordings for commercial release was employed on Thompson’s grammy nominated Dream Attic. He has also had a long collaboration with didjeridu master Stephen Kent, working together through Lights In a Fat City (the original didjeridu based combo of the London Rave scene in the mid/late 80’s who released the seminal LP “Somewhere”), Trance Mission (San Francisco based “4th World” band), dance pieces, and many solo projects as producer and engineer.
For several years he was one of the few non Welsh-speaking engineers and producers working at Sian Studio in North Wales, working with Geraint Jarmen, Rhiannon Tomas, Endalf Emlyn, Myfyr Issac among others. He is now based in Austin, TX. Working in the digital domain but employing tube outboard equipment for processing and summing, Simon produces quality recordings of the highest standard.
Bobby Eichorn is a producer, studio engineer, songwriter, guitar builder and, most importantly, musician. As Jack of all trades he has been involved with Richard Thompson’s various projects (RT Band, RT Trio, 1000 Years, Cabaret of Souls and most recently he played guitar on RT’s “13 Rivers” CD) for the past two decades as Stage Manager, Instrument Tech as well as additional guitar or bass player when needed.
Aside from Richard, Bobby has worked with many other musicians including Carly Simon, Bon Jovi, Ian Hunter, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Jon Lord, Ben Taylor, and Hall & Oats just to name a few.
Bobby also composes and produces his own music available at:
CD Baby http://cdbaby.com/cd/bobbyicon
JACK covey THOMPSON
Jack is the son of Richard Thompson and Nancy Covey so being on stage playing music or talking on mic is in his genes. He has recorded music around the world including CDs with Henry Kaiser, Cuban musician Yelfris Valdez and The Thompson Family. Jack now lives in Seattle where he plays in various bands ranging from post-rock to extreme metal.
With degrees in History and Art History, Jack is also an accomplished abstract painter who recently began doing custom drum-kits and guitars for various musicians around Seattle including the Naked Giants. In his free time he studies history, travels and writes for CVLT Nation, amongst any other creative endeavors he can get his hands on.
Jack is a keen naturalist and zoologist so he is your “go to” man if you need help with identifying any of the wildlife at camp – as well as help finding classes, answering questions about the camp, animals, your instrument or if you need some solid bass for your new song at the Open Mic – so feel free to ask him anything!
Jack is in charge of the F&R merchandise store. He is also co teaching “Creative Strategies: The Concept Album” class with Henry Kaiser. Jack is the Coordinator of F&R Open Mic along with Bobby Eichorn and Zak Hobs. He will be your MC at Open Mic in the Roadhouse and also the DJ host of the phenomenal old-school Dance Party on our final night at Frets & Refrains!
Singer-songwriter, guitarist, London born Zak Hobbs is the grandson of Richard and Linda Thompson, and nephew to Teddy and Jack. In 2015, Zak featured on his family’s collaborative album, called Thompson. Based in the UK Zak works as a solo artist and as a guitarist with Eliza Carthy, The Rails, Sunny Ozell and others.
Zak is an advanced student of Richard’s Hybrid picking technique, a specialty he has been successfully teaching for the last 7 years. Zak will be holding an informal class to tackle the core concepts of Hybrid Picking. Time is also given to further tackling the music taught by Richard throughout the week.
In the evenings Zak co-hosts the Open Mic and is on constant standby if you need guitar accompaniment for your song.
Selena Reynolds teaches yoga at Shakti Yoga Studios in Woodstock and Saugerties, Woodstock Yoga Center, and Menla Mountain Retreat Center. She is certified at both the 200 and 500 hour levels and maintains a dedicated personal practice as she continues to study all aspects of yoga. She finds that the practice of yoga teaches her to stay balanced, open, and joyous as she strives to act with love, joy and, optimism in every situation. Her teaching style is exploratory and playful, incorporating both vinyasa flow and held postures with detailed breath and alignment instruction to help students develop stronger connection within themselves through movement and concentration. Selena’s Yoga For Musicians classes at Full Moon are accessible for ALL levels, including beginners. They will help you to release tension from both body and mind and empower your creative self!
Professional photographer Annaliese Tassano's specialties include fine art, capturing the performing arts, and the horse. She will again be documenting all of Frets and Refrains in 2019. All images will be available for participants to view and/or purchase following the camp. Some of the best photos at Camp have been taken by Annaliese (as you can see in this website)!
Richard Thompson fans will have seen her work on the covers of the Live at Celtic Connections DVD, Richard’s 2012 Record Store Day single, on the pages of Dream Attic’s packaging, and on numerous leads for No Depression. Her work has also been seen in Rolling Stone and Billboard, and her fine art work has received awards from Photomedia Center, Creative Quarterly, Ex Arte Equinus, Spectrum, and she recently had her first solo show at The Rehoboth Art League.